Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/09/12 at 01:51 PM ET
NEW YORK (April 9, 2012) – Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending April 8.
FIRST STAR – MIKE SMITH, G, PHOENIX COYOTES
Smith posted a 3-0-0 record, 0.67 goals-against average, .982 save percentage and one shutout as the Coyotes (42-27-13, 97 points) won three straight games to capture the Pacific Division, their first division title in franchise history. He began the week by making 54 saves, an NHL record for saves in a regular-season shutout, in a 2-0 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets April 3. The win also extended Smith’s shutout streak to three consecutive games, a career high. He extended his overall shutout streak to 234:25, the third-longest stretch in the League this season, before allowing a goal at 14:26 of the first period in a 4-1 win at the St. Louis Blues April 6. Smith made 161 consecutive saves during that run, the most since saves were introduced as an official statistic in 1976-77. He closed the week by making 23 saves in a 4-1 victory at the Minnesota Wild April 7 as the Coyotes claimed the third seed in the Western Conference.
The 30-year-old Kingston, Ontario native played in 67 games this season, establishing career bests with 38 wins, a 2.21 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and eight shutouts.
SECOND STAR – STEVEN STAMKOS, C, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Stamkos recorded 4-1—5 in four games to become the second player since 1995-96 to reach the 60-goal mark (Alex Ovechkin: 65, 2007-08). He scored twice, including his League-leading 12th winner, and added an assist in a 4-2 victory against the Washington Capitals April 2, potted his 59th goal in a 3-2 overtime loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs April 5 and netted No. 60 on the final day of the season, a 4-3 overtime win at the Winnipeg Jets April 7. Stamkos captured his second Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader (2009-10) and finished second in the League’s points race with 60-37—97, a career high. The Markham, Ontario native leads the NHL with 156 goals since the start of the 2009-10 season, 36 more than the next-closest player (Ovechkin, 120).
THIRD STAR – SIDNEY CROSBY, C, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Crosby tied for first in the League with 3-3—6, including two game-winning goals, as the Penguins (51-25-6, 108 points) won their final three games to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. He scored twice and added an assist in a 5-3 victory at the Boston Bruins April 3, collected an assist in a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers April 5 and closed the season with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 triumph against the Philadelphia Flyers April 7. Since returning from injury March 15, Crosby recorded at least one point in 10 of his 14 games, totaling 6-19—25. The 24-year-old appeared in 22 total games, recording 8-29—37 for a career-best 1.68 points per game.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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